AIWA-SF Thrive: Shakeh Kaftarian

THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them.  These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today we feature Shakeh Kaftarian.


Name: Shakeh Kaftarian, Ph.D.

Dr. Shakeh Kaftarian is a medical psychologist and community activist.  During her career, she has served in a variety of research and management positions at the U.S. Department of Health & Humans Services, focusing on the prevention of substance abuse, women’s health, and the empowerment of girls & women.  Shakeh helped design and develop the science-based “Empowerment Evaluation” methodology which has revolutionized public programming and accountability, and has been implemented in 16 countries worldwide. She has served as a Senior Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, as well as Research Professor at the Hebert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.   Most recently, Shakeh was awarded a U.S. State Department Fulbright Scholarship in order to research the status of women of Armenia at the American University of Armenia, where she also chaired an international conference entitled “Empowerment of Girls and Women in Armenia.”

Apart from her professional career, Shakeh is a lifelong community advocate.  She helped co-found the Armenian American Health Association of Greater Washington, which developed and operated several humanitarian and health-related programs in Armenia and Karabagh.  Currently, she is focused on the development of female empowerment initiatives in Armenia, as well as mental health programs in the Armenian community of Southern California.

Shakeh believes in “doing the right thing” even when such an action is not popular.   She is passionate about advocacy on behalf of those who cannot yet act for themselves.  She honors fidelity to the principles of equality & fairness, particularly equity within family and social orders, which translate into equal opportunities for people to achieve their potential – regardless of gender, age, and social standing.

Shakeh has embraced the philosophy “… the more one gives of oneself, the more meaningful life becomes.” She believes in systematic mentoring of the younger generation, and the taking of calculated risks.  Above all, she feels grateful for her rich Armenian heritage; the privilege of being a U.S. citizen; and belonging to the 21st Century global society, that offers worldwide connection of people and ideas.


About AIWA-SF:

The Armenian International Women’s Association is a dynamic global 501(c)3 dedicated to empowerment, education and enrichment. Through many projects and initiatives,  AIWA is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and connecting Armenian women worldwide.

AIWA-SF is an affiliate chapter of the Armenian International Women’s Association,  the EIN #: 04-3113182. Donations marked for AIWA-SF are routed to the affiliate chapter.

To get involved with the AIWA-SF affiliate, please visit http://www.aiwasanfrancisco.com or send an email to aiwasanfrancisco@gmail.com. We are grateful for all donations. To help us promote progress, contributions can be mailed to: AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave #227 Los Gatos CA 95032

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